The eminent personalities, who participated in the debates, as well as the TV anchors focussed only on the role of the various personalities in the government from the Prime Minister downwards. Not one of them mentioned even in passing the possible role of Sonia Gandhi as the leader of the Congress (I) in these controversial decisions. Even the spokespersons of the opposition parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), did not even mention her name in their interventions.
Does this mean that all these controversial decisions were taken only by the government with the Congress (I) leadership playing no role in it? Any objective analyst would find it difficult to accept this. We have been under a peculiar system of governance since 2004 in which real power seems to be wielded by Sonia Gandhi in her capacity as the head of the Congress (I) with the Prime Minister as the head of the government exercising only seeming power.
There has been an unseen, but unquestioned power which has been exercising a compulsive influence on decision-making in important matters. This compulsive influence is quite evident in the case of the appointment of the CVC. Whether in matters relating to his appointment despite his facing an incomplete enquiry or the defence of his appointment before the Supreme Court everyone from the Prime Minister downwards has been acting as if they were acting at the instance of an invisible force that could not be resisted. Such an invisible force could be only that of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi.
She has been conducting herself as a neutral, disinterested bystander, who had nothing to do with any of these decisions. She has not spoken on any of these decisions in any great detail, nor has she been questioned. Everyone, including the media and even the opposition, has been behaving as if like the British monarch she is above and beyond all controversies and, hence, her role cannot be questioned.
If one has to find out the real truth behind the recent controversies it is as important to go into her role as it is to go into the role of others. The assumption that Sonia Gandhi can do no wrong has to be challenged by the public as well as the media and the political class. She must be made to face the fire of criticism and questioning like any other leader. She should no longer be treated as if she is a morally superior person whose good faith and integrity have to be implicitly accepted.
It is important for the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) now being constituted to summon her and question her in detail on the various controversies. It is equally important for her role in decision-making to be debated in Parliament, in the media and elsewhere. She should herself welcome a greater public focus on her role and influence in decision-making.
B. Raman is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
The SPHINX was only people who are politically dependent on her occuping important Govt posts. All the top post in the UPA GOVT are occupied by Congress men who can not get elected to Parliament themselves- MMS the PM, Pranab the FM, PC the Home M, Antoney the Defence M are all dependent on regional parties/ Rajya Sabha seats to get to Parliament. MMS in Rajya Sabha, Pranab, PC and Antoney are dependent on regional parties to get to Parliament. Inexplicibily, Congress leaders who could get to Parliament on their own stregth like Mr Pawar, Mr Sangma, Mr Madhav Rao Scindia, Mr Rajesh Piolet etc are all no more in Congress Party or are no more!!!!!!
"As the NAC head and UPA chairperson, she has the right to part of the policy-maiking" - The Irreverent Indian
Absolutely. And also agree that Sonia should be accountable as a leader for the mis-governance,goof-ups and corruption.
The overall tone of this article and the intentional use of the metaphor "sphynx" very subtly tries to equate her with the horror,greed, power accumulation of mythological proportion. This is distasteful. Just because SG carries herself gracefully and intelligently, She doesn't deserve the unnecessary dark shed.
So refreshing to see someone telling the truth.........
"So far there is no prima facie evidence against Sonia Gandhi. Why would she be questioned on influencing decision making in govt? "
You have to watch televisions to see that. It is pretty evident. Anyway, there is nothing wrong with Mrs. Gandhi having a direct or indirect influence on government decision-making. As the NAC head and UPA chairperson, she has the right to part of the policy-maiking.
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT